“A man believes what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…” – Paul Simon
I had a typical exchange with my four-year-old granddaughter the other day. I saw her do something. It doesn’t matter what it was, as this isn’t the point. The point is I witnessed her doing a thing. I confronted her about the thing she just did, right in front of me, and like a typical four-year-old, she denied it.
What ensued was a “did not – did too” riff that lasted a minute or two until her mom intervened and took the matter elsewhere. Truthfully, I am not surprised this happened. It happens often with toddlers. They don’t yet possess the moxie to understand the nuances of adult interaction, and lack the ability to comprehend what “I just saw you do that” means.
Most human beings figure this out before they exit the toddler years. Many, however, either never figure this out, or end up believing whatever they are told, regardless of whatever evidence to the contrary is placed before them.
There have been so many instances, especially in the past year, where I have personally witnessed (along with literally millions of others, worldwide) someone do or say something that left absolutely no doubt at all of what that person meant to convey with their words, or what that person actually, physically did. Then, defying all logic, these people either state that they were misunderstood, misinterpreted, or flat out deny saying or doing what so many people witnessed.
Now, if I met you in a place where there were no other people around and punched you in the face, it would pretty much be my word against yours as to what happened. No witnesses. No proof. However, if I walked up to you in crowd of people standing in front of a dozen news cameras and punched you in the face, then denied punching you in the face, people would rightfully have very negative things to say about me. Least of all being a liar. But this seems to be the new normal. People doing and saying things in front of the entire world, then denying, and not only expecting everyone to believe them, but taking it a step further and calling the all worldwide witnesses liars. Even worse, there are hundreds of thousands of people defending the lies, getting downright ornery about it, and shifting the blame to someone who has proven to be the exact opposite. Projection.
Now, before you go on a rant and accuse me of leaving behind my promise not to be negative, as I stated in my last post, please understand that this is not written in the spirit of anger. It is not written with hate for anyone in my heart. It is not published with the intent of lambasting any one given individual, even though there are several examples in the circle of current events that can fit the bill.
The point here is that people who are able to (and often do) influence others, are not taking responsibility for their words and deeds. They are not behaving like adults, but more like petulant children who were caught red-handed in a lie, but continue to vehemently deny. And they are getting more and more people to believe their lies, to defend them, to champion them, and to paint the person who is telling the truth as the liar. And the really, really sad thing is that there are people who are reading this that are convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the liars are really the truth-tellers, and the truth-tellers are really the liars.
And it’s not only in the realm of what people say and do. There are people who are presented with undeniable, undebateable, irrefutable, unequivocal facts that have been proved over and over again by some really, really smart and dedicated people, and yet they refuse to acknowledge the efficacy of what has been placed before them. I can totally understand when someone says that it is cold outside, but another person says it is not. These are subjective opinions. I get cold when it drops below 60 degrees. My wife is still uncomfortably warm. Subjective. I think sushi is one of the best foods out there. My daughter thinks it’s absolutely terrible. Subjective.
What has happened is that many people have lost the knowledge of the difference between what is subjective and what is objective. They have lost the ability to discern what is factual and what is fictional, choosing to side a debate between two ideas that are mutually exclusive. Apples and oranges. It’s like comparing a real life locomotive to the cartoon train, Thomas.
There are a myriad of reasons for this, but what it comes down to is a combination of confirmation bias, and the fear that what they are denying will somehow change their lives on a level that they cannot process if they were to acknowledge. These things are wide and varied, ranging the gamut from evolution and climate change, to the efficacy of vaccines, etc. I have seen people engaged in debates whereas one side presents an argument based on evidence, and the other side counters with fiction. I can no longer watch these, as they literally cause my blood pressure to rise.
So, where does this leave our rather divided humanity? Not sure, completely, but I know this. I refuse to let the ignorant rent space in my head. I will continue to be cordial and friendly to those who believe the things that they are told without the benefit of actually doing research using non-biased sources. I will still interact with those who I disagree with and with those who disagree with me. I will still do my part to be a better human, to take the high road when I can, and to give audience to anyone who would like to talk to me about whatever. Why? Because insulting them is counter-productive, and has never been a good method of making friends who may one day listen to what you are saying and then actually making up their own minds.
I will not be party to the spread of negativity in the world, but that doesn’t mean I am to be without comment. Y’all have a great day!